Research Interests

International Development; Environment; Politics in Africa

Background & Qualification

Dr Tom Campbell received his PhD from DCU in 2021, for a thesis entitled “Climate Change Policy Narratives and Pastoralism in the Horn of Africa: New Concerns, Old Arguments?”. He also holds an NDip in Development Studies, and an MSc in Environmental and Development Education. He a lecturer with the Department of International Development, Maynooth University, where he teaches a number of courses at undergraduate and post graduate level, including Political Economy of Environment and Development; Sustainable Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation; Food, Nutrition and Climate Security.  He has extensive experience working here in Ireland, as well as in several East African countries, of teaching and conducting training, designing curriculum, writing course materials, and organising seminars on development related issues. Tom has previously worked in India with the international secretariat of Service Civil International (SCI). He also has professional and voluntary experience with a number of Irish development education organisations, including Voluntary Service International (VSI), Oxfam Ireland, Comhlámh and Feasta. He is also a member of the Dóchas Working Group on Livelihoods, Food Security and Nutrition.

Research Overview

With interests in political ecology and current discourses around climate change adaptation and resilience, Tom’s research focuses on global climate change policy narratives and their consequences for pastoralist livelihoods in the drylands of East Africa.  Research questions include: to what extent are ‘old narratives’ (eg  ‘tragedy of the commons’, ‘fragile dryland ecosystems’, ‘pastoral livelihoods are uniquely vulnerable’) being recycled in current global discourses on drylands use in East Africa, and how exactly are these narratives being interpreted in terms of decision making at the national level? Who are the winners and losers from these processes?  What are the institutions, actors and networks that connect global climate change narratives to pastoralist outcomes?  To what extent do interventions in the name of climate mitigation and adaptation reproduce, rather than address, the social and political structures and development pathways that are driving displacement of pastoralist communities?